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Wheel life: The thought police are on their way

Microchips buried inside your vehicle could soon be tipping off the authorities about your driving misdeamenors, says Jason Barlow in the Telegraph.

Reports this week indicate that the Government is working on a scheme that will lead to every car in the country being fitted with a personalised microchip, enabling the powers-that-be to identify and prosecute motorists who break the law.

Electronic vehicle identification (EVI) allows the chip buried within your car to collude with the existing network of roadside sensors to provide a host of information about the individual behind the wheel, as well as monitoring exactly how vigorous their progress is on any given journey. An in-car informer, in other words, to go with the mobile phone, the Switch and credit cards, and the army of CCTV cameras already tracking our every move.

The police and the DVLA claim there are obvious benefits. Stolen cars could be traced more effectively, and uninsured vehicles more efficiently identified, reducing premiums among middle England’s most law-abiding citizens. EVI could also eliminate potentially dangerous cars without valid MoTs. The Treasury stands to recoup an estimated £185 million in unpaid vehicle excise duty.

But the truth of the matter is that it is merely another way – the most pernicious yet – of squeezing revenue out of the poor, beleaguered motorist. Motorists already supply a tenth of all government revenue – that’s £38 billion – and because we value our freedom so highly, a freedom typified by our desire to travel by car, we reluctantly continue to stump up even in the face of over-regulation and exorbitant fuel prices.

It could be worse. And, in five years, it will be – you’ll be fined for doing an illegal U-turn in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning, while someone burgles your house and gets away with it. Cue calls for everyone on the planet to be fitted with a microchip. After all, the innocent will have nothing to fear.

Truer words have rarely been spoken…

3 comments to Wheel life: The thought police are on their way

  • James

    “After all, the innocent will have nothing to fear.”

    If there exists a driver who does not violate some traffic law every time he drives, I’ve never met him. Average, safe, responsible drivers could easily rack-up a fortune in fines if this technology is implemented as a traffic law inforcement method. No one is innocent.

    People may love their children, but they *REALLY* love their cars. Any government that threatens this relationship is in for a rude awakening… or so I hope.

    Then again, if the nasty little tags are used only to track suspected terrorists, drug dealers, child molesters, whackos who post on libertarian blogs and other dangerous critters, then public outcry will be minimal.

    It will be interesting to see how governments employ this technology.

  • What becomes of motorists who try to remove the microchip from their cars or are cars all going to become government-owned and simply borrowed or hired from the government by individuals? I’m sure that would be an attractive prospect for the likes of Blunkett.

  • I believe that these chips are parasite powered (so you cannot switch them off) and built so that the engine is disabled unless they are happy. Of course, any serious criminal will be perfectly capable of getting around it, it’s only the general population that will have to suffer.

    What’s the bets that someone is arrested for building their own hobby engine in a few years time?